Proud mom authors book of healthy pregnancy recipes
When Sacha Welsh gave birth to her second daughter, Victoria, she thought she'd had a dream delivery.
Victoria came into the world after just three pushes.
But four hours later things took a bad turn for Ms Welsh.
“I had the baby on my chest, and the nurses were giving me fluids through a drip,” the 31-year-old said. “I just passed out.”
Doctors discovered she had a postpartum haemorrhage and was bleeding heavily.
“Your uterus takes several days to contract back to normal size,” said Ms Welsh, a Bermudian, living in Toronto, Canada.
“Breast feeding spurs that on, but my uterus was too tired and over worked to contract. Because it didn't contract, I ended up clotting and bleeding and losing too much blood.”
Her haemoglobin numbers fell from a normal 133 to a low 82.
“Thankfully, I didn't need a blood transfusion, because before I gave birth, my haemoglobin (red blood cell) levels were high,” she said. “That's because I took care of myself, and made sure I was getting the nutrients I needed for a healthy baby.
“Thank God I did. If my levels were low before delivery, I would have needed surgery, and my recovery would have been a whole different story.”
For a good two weeks after delivery she felt really weak, and couldn't walk further than up and down the stairs in her house.
“It was OK, because all the baby does is sleep at first, but it was hard taking care of my older daughter, Whitney, who is 2,” she said. “Thankfully, my husband and parents helped.”
To get her iron count back up she took vitamin C and iron supplements twice a day, and ate foods rich in iron such as red meat and spinach.
Always a bit of a home chef, she took to the kitchen to make herself healthy smoothies and vitamin-rich meals to get her iron levels back up.
“I was eating more oatmeal, which has a lot of iron in it,” she said. “I was making sure I was keeping my calcium and iron intake two hours apart because calcium depletes iron intake. I also took a liquid supplement.”
After six weeks her iron levels were in the clear again.
Ms Welsh started Welsh Wellness three years ago to provide health and nutrition counselling services to pre and postnatal women, after studying with the Health Coach Institute in New York.
After having Victoria she decided she wanted to go a step further and write a healthy cookbook.
“There's a lot of conflicting information out there,” she said.
She released Healthy Pregnancy Recipes on October 31, with 20 nutrition-packed breakfasts, lunches, dinners and beverages.
She also has a shorter version available for free download.
A quarter of the recipes are hers, and the rest come from health professionals who partnered with her for the project.
Each recipe has notes with it explaining how its beneficial to expectant and new moms.
“I am confident in my expertise, but wanted to make sure the book was easy to understand and follow and to take seriously from an audience point of view,” Ms Welsh said. “I wanted to make sure I was writing for the average mom, and not just for moms in the health bubble.”
Recipes in the book include homemade strawberry jam, homemade coconut yoghurt, a green pregnancy smoothie with flaxseed, and flourless banana pancakes.
The pancakes are a particular favourite with her daughters.
“They're obsessed with them,” Ms Welsh laughed. “I make them every Sunday morning.”
Ingredients include bananas, eggs and flaxseed.
“Banana is a flour substitute, so when you flip the pancakes they are still very thick,” she said.
“I do have low-gluten meals but I am not gluten-free. I honestly don't feel all that great when I have a lot of gluten. I feel tired and have low energy, so I try not to eat that much of it.”
She believes ingredients like probiotics and flaxseed are not just good for mom's health, but also developing babies, in utero or out.
“I know a lot of people are in protein powder kicks, but I try to use as little processed food as possible,” she said. “Smoothies are a good way to get your vegetables. When you're pregnant the last thing you crave is vegetables.”
The book is not just meant for pregnant moms, but the whole family.
“It is very family-friendly,” she said. “There are enough recipes for a week's worth of meals. It can take that long to get used to this lifestyle.”
Her hope is that expectant moms learn a little something about what is needed to have a healthy pregnancy and baby.
“I hope they gain an understanding of the different types of fun foods they can use to create different meals,” she said.
She'd never written a book before starting the cookbook, so she found the process of putting it together interesting.
“I'm normally a simple meal, kind of girl,” she said. “I had to do a lot of research for this e-book. There were a lot of late nights. It was satisfying to put together because it was my own and sold exclusively through my website. It was fun. I look forward to one day having one.”
The book is aimed at busy, everyday mothers like herself, who don't have a lot of time to spend on meals. Ms Welsh didn't take a lot of time to compile the book. “I gave myself a full week to write it,” she said. “It is a recipe book, so it is not a lot of writing content.”
When she first released her e-book last month, she wasn't sure what kind of reception it would get, but so far, the feedback has been positive.
“People seem to be enjoying the recipes,” she said. “People have said they are easy to make.”
Now she thinks there are definitely more cookbooks down the line. “Eventually, I'd like to write a 100 per cent original cookbook, with all my own recipes,” she said.
• Healthy Pregnancy Recipes is available for download on her website at www.welshwellness.com/product/my-favourite-healthy-pregnancy-recipes for $9.99